Aug 05 2020

Your guide to Degrees with Foundation Year Entry

Interested in studying a Foundation Year Entry Degree -- or just want some more information about how it works? Read on and get a full look at the programmes, as explained by Arden’s Foundation Year Programme Team Leader Towella Ngambi.

What is a Foundation Year?

You may have heard about or know someone who’s studied a degree programme with a foundation year. If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means that you spend a year developing university-level study skills and subject knowledge before beginning your full bachelor’s degree programme. 

In one of our recent webinars, Arden University’s Foundation Year Programme Team Leader Towella Ngambi described the many benefits students get by studying a Foundation Year before entering their full degree programme. Towella began by telling us:

“This is a fantastic way of ensuring that you are successful on your bachelor's degree. A foundation year gives you practice in skills that you'll need like essay writing, how to get around the online portal, and how to communicate with your lecturers.”


How is this route different from a standard degree programme?

On a traditional degree route, students go directly into the first year of their bachelor’s course and study their subject-specific topics.

On the Foundation Year Entry Degree programme, you spend your first year of study developing academic skills that you will then use in the following three (or more) years of subject-specific study. 

The amount of time it takes to complete your degree depends on the course load you take on. You might complete your bachelor’s degree, including the foundation year, in about four years. Or, you may complete it over the course of six or more years, depending on the programme and how many credits you take per year.


Setting the stage for your degree studies

The Foundation Year is made up of modules which help you brush up on your study skills and build the confidence needed to study your degree programme. 

During your Foundation Year with Arden, you also study what Towella describes as ‘taster modules’. These modules introduce you to your degree material, so you are prepared for success when you enter the full degree programme.

Another major benefit of studying a foundation year with Arden is the guidance and tutor support you receive all throughout your studies. Towella says:

“I think it's really helpful if you haven't been in study for a long time or if it's the first time you're
studying a UK course. Our foundation year team specialise in hand-holding and ensuring that you understand the material.”


Who studies a Foundation Year?

The Foundation Year Entry Degree programmes are meant to bring students' learning skills up to university standard. Arden’s student body is diverse, with there being a variety of reasons they choose to study a foundation year, but typically they choose this path to refresh their study skills. 

“If you feel you didn't quite get the results you wanted in secondary school or high school, or you don't meet the entry requirements for the course you want to study, this is a great way to get onto your full degree.”


All ages and backgrounds welcome

Foundation Year Entry Degree programmes are inclusive, and students from all over the world and from many different backgrounds study Arden’s courses through blended and online learning.

“We see a huge mix of people. We have some students who are professionals, who finished school at 16, entered the workforce, until they got to a point where they wanted to return to their studies,” Towella explained.

Some Foundation Year Entry Degree students start their programme with Arden immediately after finishing school.

“We've got young students from about 18 who just finished their A levels and joined us. Then we've got people returning to study, maybe ten years after they got a degree and want to refresh and take on a new direction. Things are rapidly changing in our job market today, so people are swapping careers regularly.”


What do you learn during the Foundation Year?

Now that you have a better idea of what a foundation year is -- let’s take a look at what you actually study.

There are four core modules that all students take during the foundation year, no matter what subject area they plan to study. Then, students take the taster modules to get a feel for their subsequent bachelor’s degree course material.

“The core modules are Using IT Data and Numeracy, and the Research Skills module. There’s another called Developing Academic Skills, where you work on assessing whether the material you're using is reliable and fit for purpose at a university level,” Towella explains.

“And there's also a module on values and ethics and working collaboratively, which teaches you how to study and work as part of a wider community and how to identify your values.” 

The pathway modules you can take after the core modules include subjects like Crime and Law in Context, or Everyday Psychology if you plan to study something within the social sciences.

“If you wanted to study business, Technology in Organisations is one of the modules you could take. Then there's another module called Structure of Business, and this is where you look at how businesses are structured, theories of business, and funding options if you were going to set up a business or be a business consultant.” 


Could studying a Foundation Year help you make the grade?

We’ve looked at some of the reasons why students choose to study a Foundation Year Entry degree programme with Arden. But how could these courses affect your success on the programme?

Towella shared some interesting statistics which suggest studying a foundation year before entering your degree modules could help you do better on your course. 

“We carried out internal research at Arden and we found that up to 80 percent of students who do a foundation year actually complete their bachelor's degree with better grades than those that jump into year one.” Towella said.

This kind of trend has been found at other universities as well.

“The Office for Students carried out some research last year and found that up to 70 percent of students who start off with the foundation year complete their course,”

“That's why I'm passionate about the work we do because we want students to be successful. We want to make sure that you have a good foundation and that when you start your degree you gain the success that you wanted from day one.”

If you’re interested in hearing more from Towella’s Foundation Year webinar, click here to watch a recording of the event.